Daily Evil: P is for Persnickety

Again, this might be evil in some situations and not in others.

I interviewed at the National Institutes of Health in the mid 1980s, with Dr. Steve Rosenburg. He asked how good I was with details. I said it depended. He asked what I meant. I said that I was excellent and persnickety when it came to science experiments, but at my present job I had trouble caring about the exact margin widths that the director of the non-profit I was working for wanted. He said that might be important. I said that I agreed, but I would be better off in a lab. He hired me.

I was excellent and persnickety in the lab and went from there to medical school 3 years later.

Etchings are profoundly persnickety. You can’t even do the drawing until you have tarred the zinc plate and then you etch the drawing in acid, take the tar off, ink the plate, run it through the press with paper and put more tar on the plate after you wipe the ink off. And once you get what you want, you have to re-ink the plate for every picture. This etching has two colors, which makes wiping enough ink off to get the lines right very tricky.

This is “Those are the pearls”, 4 out of 25, 1981, Helen Burling Ottaway. The plate size is 8.5 by 11 inches.

I am having to be persnickety about photographing my mother’s works. I am getting better at it, but it’s tricky to get the light right, without shadows. The cats always want to help. Today they are out in the box watching the birds, since they kept walking over the etching. I am jealous of the professionals downtown who have a camera on a frame and can be very very persnickety about the photograph. I may try my tripod, as a weak second. I have my mother’s slides too, so I could try digging those out. She did her own mostly, so I am not sure about them.

Hooray for the letter P!